Book II of The Well-Tempered Clavier is distinguished by Bach’s ever-evolving experiments, alchemical meldings of genres, styles, forms and formats. The F# Major Prelude, with its martially-dotted thorough-going texture suggests a French Overture, but in performance one finds instead this most stringently regulated yet most opulently resounding two-voice texture.
The Fugue begins on the trilled resolution with which the Prelude ends. As empyrian as is the subject and its subsequent fractal examination and treatment, the ear hears the essence of this construct: the subject’s flattened 7th in the 2nd bar inverts to the sighing 2nds of the countersubject.
My 96-episode series of explorations into each of J.S. Bach’s Preludes & Fugues, Everything We Need To Know About Playing The Piano We Learn From The Well-Tempered Clavier, is available by subscription at http://www.christopheroriley.com/shop/become-a-member/
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